February Is National Children's Dental Health Month
Good dental hygiene begins in the home and starts with your child's very first tooth. February has been designated as National Children's Dental Health Month and is a good time to make sure that your children have had their regular checkups and are brushing at least two times a day. The American Dental Association recommends that children have their very first visit to the dentist by the time they get their first tooth or by the time they are a year old. This is quite different then 15 years ago, when there was no need for a child to see the dentist until they had their first cavity. Research has shown since that to avoid tooth decay, dental checkups must start much earlier.
The children's dental health month began in 1941 in Cleveland, Ohio. At that time, there was only a one day observance, which grew into a week long observance and then in 1981, it became a month long observance. It has also grown from a two city event into a nationwide program. Local programs for dental health month include free dental screenings, classroom presentations, dental office tours, health fairs, essay contests and poster coloring contests.
Each year there is a new slogan for dental health month and parents and children can download coloring and activity sheets related to dental health month. The ADA produces program planning kits for state and local dental alliances to assist them in their local promotions. The planning kits may include workbooks, resources, handouts, posters and publicity information. The posters are readily available for classrooms to display during the month.
National Children's Dental Health Month is promoted to increase the awareness of good dental health. People get so busy with their lives that they sometimes forget about their teeth. The majority of people do not make regular dental visits. Ninety percent of adults usually quit their regular dental checkups by the time they are 25. Dentists feel that by raising awareness during dental health month, the on-going problem of gum disease could be eliminated. Dental health month also makes aware the age old problem of sugar and cavities. If children learn to equate good nutrition with good teeth, than many cavity issues can be cleared up as well. Dental health month gives everyone a jump start into getting control over their dental health issues. The media provides all kinds of resources and TV programs are geared towards good dental hygiene during dental health month.